RCT continues to support PT Freeport Indonesia on technology journey

Published by Daniel Gleason on February 23, 2022

PT Freeport Indonesia has been successfully managing one of Indonesia’s largest mining operations for decades thanks to its ability to use technology solutions to improve its mining operations, says Smartport specialist and supplier Freeport RCT.

Freeport operates copper, gold and silver mines on five separate underground and surface operations in the mountainous areas of West Papua in Indonesia.

For more than 30 years, Freeport has relied on RCT services to achieve its goals of improving mining safety for workers and optimizing work.

In the early 1990s, Freeport implemented RCT ControlMaster® remote control solutions in its mixed Sandvik and Wagner mining park, which operates at the DOZ underground mine and at the Grasberg quarry.

ControlMaster was the perfect solution for Freeport’s mixed mining fleet due to its ability to integrate with any type of machine and provide the user with effective control of the machine from a safe point of view, RCT reports.

This has led RCT to move from delivering remote ControlMaster solutions to complete on-site machine reconfiguration projects in the LHD underground fleet. This also included the deployment of ControlMaster remote control technology throughout the mining fleet, including the Cat D11 and D10R bulldozers, and the installation of remote control telemedicine technology on the Cat 994 wheel loader.

RCT has also previously launched ControlMaster Line-of-Sight remotes for a variety of onshore drilling rigs, including Commando drilling rigs and Cubex rigs, as well as a fixed-position quarry.

Over the years, Freeport’s technological requirements have evolved, and each time RCT has delivered technology in line with changing expectations, from providing analog communications equipment to more modern digital networks, RCT said.

Currently, RCT provides customized technological solutions for the entire fleet of specialized Freeport equipment.

RCT work manager Shane Smith said the local environment creates many unique challenges, and Freeport is determined to address those challenges through technology as well as a safe way.

“Because of hazardous conditions in underground mines such as wet clumps, Freeport has sought to automate water cannons, mobile quarries and other highly specialized equipment,” he said. “Global OEMs have not been able to supply technology that meets Freeport standards, and so we have adapted our own technology to create a solution that fits their specific applications. It has been so successful that Freeport is now instructing global OEMs that their machines must have a factory-set RCT solution. ”

He added: “The current working relationship between Freeport and RCT is built on years of hard work to provide effective solutions to automate and support this technology.”

In 2015, Freeport requested a permanent on-site placement of an RCT specialist to provide a high level of support for a wide range of automation solutions implemented in the mines.

These solutions include the deployment of semi-autonomous ControlMaster technology on Cat R1700 and R2900 loaders, which can be operated by Freeport Central Remote Operating Room (ROR) operators on the mine surface.

Other projects include the automation of 24 parachute systems spread over the mines of Veliky Gosan, DOZ and DMLZ, as well as the transfer of the parachute operator from the portal to the ROR.

Freeport has also introduced RCT truck operator assistance technology to optimize underground truck loading operations.

Most recently, the RCT commissioned a secondary breakdown fleet in Greater Gosan, including trucks with Getman and Elphinstone water cannons, mobile quarries and Cat skid steer loaders. Mobile quarries have been commissioned with RCT’s stand-alone ControlMaster technology and allow staff to control the work of ROR safety machines.

Smith said that in the future the team will expand the capabilities of Multi Fleet Select, which will allow site personnel to control multiple types of machines from a single automation center on the surface of the mine.

“Soon we will have nine new automation centers located in Freeport’s ROR, and we will fully support local staff in scaling up their stand-alone operations,” he said. “Freeport is at the forefront of using technology to improve its mining operations, and we are excited to support them along the way.”

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